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The Girl
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10 from votes
Release: 20 October 2012 (USA) /

The Girl

Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Gwyneth Hughes,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: When Grace Kelly retires from films to marry Prince Rainier Alfred Hitchcock looks for a similar blonde and finds her in TV model,the little known Tippi Hedren,who will star in his film adaptation of horror story 'The Birds'. Hitchcock is obsessed with Tippi sexually and,when she rebuffs his advances,sadistically puts her through five days of filming where she is attacked and injured by real birds. Hitchcock's wife Alma and his assistant Peggy are appalled but can do nothing. Tippi is resolved that she will not give in to Hitchcock despite the situation giving her nightmares. Hitchcock and Tippi make a second film,'Marnie'. Having admitted that Alma is the only woman he has ever had sex with and that he now finds her cold Hitchcock continues to pursue Tippi, bombarding her with phone calls declaring his love for her yet reminding her that he alone made her famous and she owes him. At this stage Tippi demands that her contract be terminated and an end title states that they never ... Written by don @ minifie-1

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Critic Reviews

OK well, first the modicum of good.

Right from the first lines of the film, Toby Jones' performance is amazing, his voice in particular sounding the very echo of Alfred Hitchcock, and his mimicry here as eerily precise as his take on Capote six years before. Sienna Miller, too, puts on a strong show, capturing many of Tippi Hedren's mannerisms startlingly well.

That, unfortunately, is about it. There's a scene early on, depicting Hedren's screen-test for 'The Birds', which illustrates much of the trouble with this film. In it, Hitchcock's voice, off-camera, hisses like a deviant axe-murderer gasping into an oxygen mask while forcing the poor, pure, virginal Tippi to perform like a porn star for his pleasure.

The problem is, of course, Hedren's actual screen-test is freely available to watch on youtube &, beyond the clothes & the sets, bears no resemblance whatsoever to the hysterical nightmare here depicted: the mood is light & relaxed, & you can hear the focus & attention in Hitch's voice, how engrossed he is in the camera, the lighting, the performances, in everything that goes into the framing of the painting we are watching move before our eyes.

And there's the rub: this is a purely subjective story masquerading as objective truth. Practically none of it is verifiable, having waited until all the main characters but the complainant are dead, & the omissions - if not outright lies - on display here are really quite shameful. It makes no mention, for instance, that Hedren was NOT hot property after The Birds & Marnie - two films which she did very little in but look pretty, & for which she received mostly lukewarm reviews. The only person the past 50 years saying Hedren's career was ruined by Hitchcock (after being given to her BY Hitchcock, let us not forget) is Hedren herself. No mention either that Hitchcock had developed 'Marnie' specifically for Grace Kelly, his favourite of all actresses, & took on Hedren, who he'd had so much trouble with over 'The Birds', only when Kelly, by then Princess Grace of Monaco, was forced to step down due to public opinion in her new homeland over the sexual content of the upcoming film.

Instead, what we get is mean-spirited gossip, rubbing in perpetually how physically unattractive Alfred Hitchcock was, over & over again, as if we didn't know this already. As if that were enough reason to despise a human being & discount their other gifts & attributes. Even if as much as half of what is so sordidly alleged here were true, a real film - a real work of art - would show the humanity of all involved, would show Hitchcock's longing & desire for Hedren's (outward) beauty as something as beautiful & mysterious in itself as it was troubling. But instead what we get is an absurd, ideologically drive hatchet job that makes sense only through a lens that sees male desire as predatory & evil without any explanation or understanding given to why that should be. He, because he is an (unattractive) male, is simply evil. She, because she is female, is an innocent, sexless child being preyed on by the nasty man. Won't we ever get past this constant infantilizing of women? Won't we ever, as a society, begin treating them like grown adults as responsible for their own decisions & actions as men?

In addition to all this, there is nothing in the least bit original or inventive in the film - what few camera tricks it pulls are direct steals from the very artist it is deriding. Everything about it feels shoddy, rushed & - with the exception of the fine actors bewilderingly shanghaied into it - cheap.

In the final analysis, it should be obvious to all that 'The Girl', much like Tippi Hedren's career itself, would not exist without the person it is attacking. Like a tick living on the back of a majestic water buffalo, it has nothing to add of its own, only to take. Perhaps the only good thing is the certain knowledge that, in 50 years or so, no-one will even remember this cheap, trashy, gossip rag was even made, while The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, North By Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho & The Birds itself will still be treasured as the works of endlessly fascinating genius they are.

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